Thinking about getting a cat? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide - Hindustan Times

Thinking about getting a cat? Here are some essential pros and cons to help you decide

Dec 09, 2023 12:40 PM IST

Thinking about bringing a furry friend into your home? Before you make the leap into cat ownership, here are some essential pros and cons to help you decide.

Sharing your home with a furry feline friend can be an extremely rewarding experience. If you are up for the responsibility, they can make fantastic long-term companions. They can be kept inside, they clean up after themselves, are often already house-trained as kittens, and they love a knee to curl up on in winter. Cats are also great communicators as they can use different pitches in their meows to get their message across.

Cats are known for their independent and affectionate nature, but there are also responsibilities and considerations that come with having a feline companion. (Pexels)
Cats are known for their independent and affectionate nature, but there are also responsibilities and considerations that come with having a feline companion. (Pexels)

“More and more people are opting for cats in India, and in many countries, they have outnumbered dogs as a choice of pet because of how low maintenance they are. With people’s busy lifestyles, it is easier for them to take care of cats because they are self-sufficient, and they take care of themselves even when left alone. It is estimated that there are between 40 recognised breeds of cats which include Abyssinian, British Blue Shorthair, Burmese, Chinchilla, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Havana Russian Blue among others. In India, Siamese and Persian and domestic shorthair cats are most popular”, said Dr. Umesh Kallahalli, Senior Veterinarian, MARS Petcare, India. (Also read: 5 ways owning a dog can keep dementia at bay )

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Pros and Cons of Getting a Cat

Dr. Umesh further shared with HT Lifestyle a list of pros and cons to consider before adopting a cat:

1. They Can Be Low-Maintenance

As long as you feed them, change their litter box and keep them hydrated, cats will do fine. Not to say that you should not spend quality time with them, but cats are quite independent and don’t require constant attention. They don’t ever overfeed themselves, clean themselves on their own manage to entertain themselves and are less likely to have separation anxiety.

2. They Don't Require a Lot of Space

As a pet parent, you may be surprised at how little room cats need as they love curling up in small spaces. Cats are happily adapting to smaller flats or houses if there is a window from which they can look out and observe the world. While they are comfortable staying indoors, you do need to make sure that the spaces you allot for them adequately meet their needs. They require human contact and mental stimulation but also need adequate space to hide and be alone to reduce their stress levels.

3. Cats take time to socialize

While cats are remarkably bold, intelligent, and playful, they are also lone hunters by nature and don’t rely on packs for survival. This is why domesticated cats need to be taught social skills from a young age. It takes a lot of time and patience for cats to socialize with other animals. It is recommended to keep the house quiet when bringing a cat home. If you have other pets, try to keep them away for the first few hours. Once a ‘home base’ is established for your cat, you can slowly introduce another animal to it.

4. Cats can display behavioural issues if not taken care of

If not raised properly, cats can display behavioural issues. If their basic needs like nutrition and hygiene are not met adequately, cats have an instinct to hunt even when they are not hungry. When cats are stressed long-term, some may show behaviours such as urine spraying or soiling indoors or territorial aggression. You may need to provide scratch posts to avoid damage to curtains or sofas. It is recommended to neuter them if you don’t want them to breed as it may create a nuisance during mating season, particularly at night.

"While cats are very independent, the responsibility of their health and physical wellbeing ultimately lies with you. Like any other being, cats need a balanced diet, and it is not recommended to give them a vegetarian diet. Cats are carnivores and rely on nutrients found only in animal products, you can opt for products like Whiskas wet and dry food to meet their nutrient requirements. You can give them non-toxic toys to play with and learn and comb them regularly to prevent shedding. Finally, and most importantly ensure all dangerous items like poisonous plants and cleaning chemicals are removed, and they are properly vaccinated and dewormed for a healthy life," concluded Dr. Umesh.

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